Last Week’s celebrity six sentences came from the title story of Slice of Life by Paul Haines. The story won a 2010 Chronos Award for Best Short Story and the collection won both the Chronos Award and the Ditmar Award for Best Collection.
In keeping with this week’s celebrity six sentences, my excerpt is from a rare piece of literary fiction, Kill All Your Darlings, that I wrote after being on the receiving end of a snobbish presentation from a woman in charge of Creative New Zealand literary grants. She came to speak to our creative writing class, and poured scorn on genre fiction and online publications. The story went on to be published in the now-defunct New Zealand literary magazine Bravado; ironically, the Creative New Zealand woman would have approved of the publication credit. The full story can be read over on PatronQuo.
Jade says she is a vegan, but Kate saw her eating a Big Mac in the food hall at the mall on the weekend. Kate wants to say something cutting – McDonald’s making Tofu Burgers now? Or, was that your evil twin I saw down at Westfield on Saturday? She says instead, I really liked your poem about battery hens, Jade.
Hirini reads out his latest story about a woman whose multiple body piercings accidentally get magnetized, and she spends several days stuck to her fridge before someone rescues her. Everyone laughs, except for William and Jade.
Back to the creative writing class, and this week’s celebrity was the polar opposite of the Creative New Zealand woman. Despite being world-famous-in-New-Zealand (and probably the recipient of not a few Creative New Zealand grants), she was approachable, humble and generous with both her time and her advice.
In this manner, it was decided that I would live there at Te Namu pa, as part of the tribe.
Before this could begin, we had to submit ourselves to a ritual stampede, in which we were trampled underfoot, while the people of the pa shouted I know not what. But I took it to mean that we were no longer pakea, stripped of our whiteness, and must now consider ourselves Maori. I saw the pain Louisa was in, even as she was torn from my hands and hurled beneath the running trampling feet. I saw a foot descend on her chest and believe that I heard her rib snap.
My little girl.